Riding on the success of 2000’s X-Men, director Brian Singer brings us X2: X-Men United, a fun yet mindless romp of seemingly disparate subplots that vaguely culminate at the movie’s end.The plot is basically the title: X-Men United. The mutants, well, they unite against a common enemy who is trying to exacerbate the already-tense mutant human animosity. A near assassination of the President rekindles the movement toward the Mutant Registration Act. General William Stryker (Brian Cox), sporting the most blatantly revealing name since Dr. Strangelove’s General Jack Ripper, leads an offensive against mutants, eventually causing Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen) to unite forces.
X2 is even more exciting to watch than its predecessor yet equally less thoughtful or stimulating. The action scenes are right on target: edge-of-your seat, fast paced action, complete with spectacular visual effects. Comic book fans will be peeing their pants in glory. This is a fun movie, make no mistake, and a good one to see with friends. The opening sequence is the most exciting of these scenes and in itself nearly worth the price of admission.
The acting is also admirable–for the most part. Stewart, a former Shakespearian actor, confirms the notion that he can deliver any cheesy lines with utter conviction. Hugh Jackman again brings us a nice performance as the troubled Wolverine. Other notable performances include Anna Paquin as the (literally) untouchable hormone factory Rogue and Ian McKellen as the crafty Magneto. Cox’s Stryker is true to the source material, but he comes off as so crazy and evil that it is almost laughable. He’s seems to be a bit too cartoonish, like some kind of insane Colonel Sanders.
Despite several promising performances, X2 comes off as disjointed. There are so many new characters that it almost seems that Singer wanted to cram in as many mutants as possible, to either sell action figures or create spin-off series. There really isn’t really a centralized, developed plot. Granted, some of the subplots are very cool, such as Pyro’s descent to evil and Wolverine’s search for his past. Several of them set the stage for both prequels and sequels. Unfortunately, they lack unity, so the ending does not feel conclusive or satisfying. Furthermore, this movie fails to address other themes not already addressed in the first.